I just noticed that the last time I blogged was the end of July. It’s like I blinked, and suddenly it’s mid-December now. Where has the time gone? And why haven’t I documented its passing?
Admittedly, I’m a tad ashamed of myself for how long it’s been since I’ve last written. Writing is my own therapy, my way to process thoughts and feelings, but it’s also a way for me to remember years from now what I did. I’ve failed at that since late July, and so many things have changed since then. So I’ll do my best at catching up to speed with myself.
August 3 was the day that I uprooted my entire life from the state of Missouri for the first time ever. I moved around plenty since college started, but this was the biggest move of them all. I packed as much clothing, housewares and memories as I could, then hit the trail to South Carolina.
I have started working on my master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina. I went from one Columbia to another, but my life in each Columbia has been completely different.
The adjustment to the other Columbia took much longer than I would have liked. I assumed that I’d move to SC, be sad and lonely for a couple weeks, then make some friends and be perfectly content. That was not the case. Although I have made a ton of new friends whom are all wonderful and supportive people, it didn’t make the 900+ mile move any easier.
I spent most of my first semester missing home like crazy. It broke my heart to see friends visiting Mizzou so often and to see them still getting to spend time with one another while I’m alone on the other side of the country. I had never felt so isolated from where my heart still was. Coming home for Mizzou’s 102nd homecoming helped quite a bit, though. It was nice to get a taste of the good ol days and to be reunited with my best friends.
I’ve managed to keep in touch with many friends in various ways, and have even managed to see a few of them while I’ve been out here. It has helped me realize that life goes on past “the best four years of your life,” albeit a very different life.
My first semester of grad school brought its own challenges and triumphs. Classes were, surprisingly, fairly easy, probably because for the first time ever I actually love what I’m learning. I’m fascinated, I’m interested, I enjoy doing my reading assignments. It’s so refreshing to be doing something I love and to feel like I made the right career choice.
Getting to go to USC football games and cheer on the Gamecocks has been a blast. I’m slowly but surely learning to love my new school, even though I knew I’d never love it as my first true love (Mizzou). Gaining pride in a new school is exciting, though. It just gives you more teams to cheer for and more opportunities to win every weekend!
Living in “the south” has probably been the biggest, and hardest, adjustment for me. I wasn’t raised in the south or with a southern mentality, so there are a lot of things here that are strange and foreign to me. I don’t know that I’ll ever fully adjust to the south, but I do know that I will appreciate the time I spend living here because it’s teaching me a lot about the differences in people and their beliefs.
Within just four months of living here, I managed to get around quite a bit in my new area of the United States. I visited Boston/Massachusetts, Vermont, North Carolina, Missouri, Florida, Georgia and all over the state of South Carolina. “Adventure is out there,” as one of my favorite movies reminds me. Next semester’s adventures will take me over the pond to Ireland for spring break, and next summer’s adventures will take me across the entire country from coast to coast on foot. One thing is for certain, no matter where I live, I don’t like to stay in one place for too long, but I always like to return home.
Here I am now, one semester of four under my belt, packing and preparing to head home for the holidays. 4 months and 8 days without being in my own home has been far too long for me, yet strangely, I’m realizing that I will actually miss being in South Carolina while I’m gone for a few weeks. I have finally established myself here, and it’s already time for a break.
Despite having a lot of rough days to overcome and a lot of homesickness and missing friends, coming to USC has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s challenged me in very different ways than I have been challenged in the past and has helped me grow and mature. But for now, I will happily take a few weeks back in the best state in the nation: Missouri, I’m coming home.